September 18, 2004

I love babbling 'bout the lord, schmoozing 'till I'm bored and twins

The Coors family is down with teh crazy.

Of course, I'll remind all that we've already established Pete Coors is a prick.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 6:59 PM

Irony long dead, its corpse now being dug up and violated

Okay, this one's good. Apparently there's a connection between the possible source of the Killian memos and the Kerry campaign. Note the last quote, it's a doozy.

In an Aug. 21 e-mail to a list of Texas Democrats, Bill Burkett said after getting through "seven layers of bureaucratic kids" in the Democrat's campaign, he talked with former Georgia senator Max Cleland about information that would counter criticism of Kerry's Vietnam War service. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the e-mail Saturday.

"I asked if they wanted to counterattack or ride this to ground and outlast it, not spending any money. (Cleland) said counterattack. So I gave them the information to do it with," Burkett wrote.

Burkett, who lives just outside of Abilene, wrote that no one at the Kerry campaign called him back.

The e-mail was distributed to a Yahoo list of Texas Democrats. The site, which had about 570 members Saturday, is not affiliated with the state party.

Republican National Committee spokesman Jim Dyke suggested collaboration between Burkett and the Kerry campaign. "The trail of connections is becoming increasingly clear," he said.

You may, of course, recall a previous statement from a Bush campaign spokesmen when they laughed off the direct relation between a member of the Swift Boat Liars and Bush's campaign. Never mind that he had to, you know, resign for... umm... being connected to the Swift Boat Liars. Oopsie.

Apparently, to really make a connection to a candidate, you have to go through seven people and Max Cleland. Working for Bush, however, is far too vague.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 5:27 PM

September 17, 2004

Yes yes yes dammit do this right now dammit

Prospect: Debate Committe should call Bush's bluff, right now.

As is their usual practice, the members of the Commission on Presidential Debates are keeping a low public profile while allowing themselves to be bullied behind the scenes by the incumbent�s handlers, who seem reluctant to agree to even a limited schedule of three debates with their opponent.

The latest from the Bush side is the suggestion, leaked to the media last week, that the president may skip one of the three scheduled face-offs with Kerry -- a debate planned in a town-hall�style format in which undecided voters from the St. Louis area would pose questions of their own to the candidates. The Bush team is also reportedly trying to shorten the two other scheduled debates, one in Miami, which will deal with domestic policy issues, and one in Tempe, Arizona, which will cover foreign policy.

Meanwhile, commission officials are increasingly concerned that unless the campaigns commit to a final schedule at least 10 days prior to the candidates� first meeting -- that is, by September 20 -- it will jeopardize the quality of the debates.

Here�s a modest proposal for the Commission on Presidential Debates: Stop negotiating right now.

Inform both campaigns that the commission will be sponsoring three debates, the times, dates, and formats of which have already been announced. There will be a seat and a nameplate for each candidate; if only one of them shows up, he gets to answer the moderator�s questions all by himself for 90 minutes, while the cameras show an empty chair where his opponent ought to be.

Kerry has already agreed to the three-debate schedule, and if the commission places its imprimatur on the event he will show up. This puts the Republicans in a dilemma: either allow Kerry 90 minutes of uninterrupted access to voters nationwide, or put President Bush on stage with him.

They should do this. They should be doing this right now.

"Arguing over format" is one thing. There is no excuse for the President to be insulting the American people by pretending he doesn't have time to defend himself in front of them.

I agree with Greg. We're running out of synonyms for "coward" to define Bush.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:56 PM

They're doing WHAT?

U.S. Soldiers are being blackmailed into re-enlisting.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - Soldiers from a combat unit at Fort Carson say they have been told to re-enlist for three more years or be transferred to other units expected to deploy to Iraq, the Rocky Mountain News reported Thursday.

Hundreds of soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team were presented with that message and a re-enlistment form in a series of assemblies last week, two soldiers who spoke on condition of anonymity told the newspaper.

"They said if you refuse to re-enlist with the 3rd Brigade, we'll send you down to the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, which is going to Iraq for a year, and you can stay with them, or we'll send you to Korea, or to Fort Riley (in Kansas) where they're going to Iraq," said one of the soldiers, a sergeant.

The second soldier, an enlisted man, echoed that view: "They told us if we don't re-enlist, then we'd have to be reassigned. And where we're most needed is in units that are going back to Iraq in the next couple of months. So if you think you're getting out, you're not."

Because, after all, if you re-enlist, there's no way you'll be sent to Iraq either.

And apparently, some of these soldiers are men who already served in Iraq, and are now being told if they don't re-enlist, they'll be sent back. This is one step below Shanghaiing people.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:45 AM

The Samuel L. Jackson school of political sniping

Okay, just to make this clear for the sudden awakening of the outraged "bad stuff is bad!" Republicans:

Taking a three-year old's sign, regardless of the fact that it clearly wasn't her sign, but in fact the sign of the opportunistic father who endangered his child to provoke a crowd, and ripping it in front of her is a crappy thing to do.

Pulling a protestor's hair, as well as kicking a restrained protestor is felony assault.

Being a prick. Felony assault. Not the same ballpark. Not the same league. Not the same damn sport.

Update: Turns out the entire thing is a setup.

I'm sure we'll hear about this for weeks now. You all know how angry Republicans get about false information.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 1:56 AM

September 16, 2004

I'll wait for the five-pack discount on Amazon

Ann Coulter believes the five most important books to read to become an informed voter are four books she wrote... plus the Bible.

There are so many psychological issues there I don't even want to start. Just... wow.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 1:06 PM

Operation Enduring Freedom in the Houuuuuuse!

David Rees' newest collection of Get Your War On strips is out. Go buy it right now. It's fantastic, and Rees is donating all his royalty profit toward clearing mine fields in Afghanistan.

I was lucky enough to get a review copy about a week ago and I've read the whole thing about three times already. My sister came over for dinner one night and ended up sitting there reading it. If you're in the New York area tonight, you can go meet David Rees. I would recommend it; I've met him before and he's a great guy.

If you've never read GYWO before, it's an amazing feeling the first time you go through a few strips. Being just clip art, it's hard to make an argument for the artistic quality of the strip. What shines is the fact that every single piece of dialogue is exactly what most people are thinking about Iraq, Bush, Rumsfeld, as on and on.

Pundits and webloggers and the like will do 1,000 words on the significance of a certain event or change in policy. Rees is the only cartoonist, and possibly the only person, who puts down what people are actually thinking and just says stuff like "OK, really- what does it take to get fired in the Bush Administration? Is there no limit to how bad you can fuck up?" I don't think there's been anything like that since Gary Trudeau's infamous "if only he'd knock over a bank or something" strip during Watergate.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:59 PM

Heh

Dick Cheney's Trial Lawyer Lovin'

During Cheney's 5-year tenure as CEO, Halliburton was involved in 151 court claims it filed in 15 states around the nation. On average, Halliburton petitioned America's legal system 30 times per year while Cheney was CEO. In filing these court actions, Halliburton was seeking everything from injunctions and evictions to payments of debt.
via Oliver.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:38 AM

The mind reels

Mike Malloy played it on Air America a few days ago, but Rumsfeld's Q & A at the National Press Gallery was covered on last night's Daily Show, so it'll probably get even more coverage. It should.

There's no link to it yet, but here's the summation: Rumsfeld specifically refereneced Osama bin Laden, only he mispronounced his name, in which I mean instead of saying "Osama bin Laden" he in fact said "Saddam Hussein."

Then he did it a second time. He gave a 30-second statement about how we don't know where Saddam Hussein is, and that he's probably been plotting something against us since 2002.

If you've ever wanted actual proof that there is simply nothing one can do to actually be fired in the Bush Administration, this is it. One of the top five ranking people in the government in charge of keeping us safe from terrorists can't remember that Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein aren't the same person.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:10 AM

September 15, 2004

How low we've fallen

Oliver made a good point about Watergate today, and he's right. I think there's no greater example in recent memory of journalism failing against tabloid sensationalism than the right-wing blog-orgy over the Killian memos. And despite some people's desire to compare this to Woodward and Bernstein, the continuing adventures of Some Guy with a Website prove just how far we've strayed from Watergate-era journalism.

The Clinton/Lewinsky affair was, perhaps for the first week or so, an example of returning to Watergate-style risk-taking journalism. The problem, as I noted before, was that there wasn't risk-taking. Matt Drudge threw out a baseless rumor, and by sheer dumb luck it turned out to be true. Had it not been, then Drudge simply would have erased all memory of the fraudulent allegation from his website as he did with the one against Kerry six months ago. A real Clinton-era Watergate investigation would have been about the covert plan to destroy the President, the DC insider who illegally taped business associates, and the Special Prosecutor who broke every standard of ethics in his quest to become the perfect love-child of Captain Ahab and half the cast of a Hawethorne novel.

Actually, the entire event has mixed reaction from me. A small silver lining of the entire Killian memo affair is that for almost an entire week we've gone without hearing the words "swift boat." Unfortunately, we've also gone about a month without hearing "health care" or "employment-" two issues that concern me, what me me currently having neither.

I maintain my opinion that the memos are real. I also maintain that despite the internet muckraking, there is still no "proof" of forgery- something that, when people sit down and start using their brains again- would only exist through two means- CBS outright admitting it or a physical analysis of the original documents. That's hardly an excessive burden.

CBS could easily be wrong on this, and it'll get egg on their face, and garner a massive feather in the cap of right-wingers who obsess over CBS as some kind of "liberal media" bastion. (Apparently, when you report a story and it's wrong, you're a liberal. But I digress.)

All I know is that the Guys with Websites are at the height of their self-idolitry right now. And when we reach the point where these guys start saying with a clear face to the national media, "why can't you be more objective and truthful like us webloggers?" Well, then, I think that's the point when we can safely say this nation's brain has gone bye-bye.

Update: Jesse weighs in.

Folks, this isn't even an discussion. Webloggers telling the mainstream media about being partisan and non-objective is like John Wayne Gacy telling Ronald McDonald how to be a clown.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:52 AM

Abusing the authority of running my own website

Senseless time-wasting question time. Anyone out there seen that promo bumper on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block, with the anime girl jumping out the window and some nifty punk/rock/pop/techno-ish song playing in the background? Anyone know what that song's called and where I can get a copy of it? Damn thing is driving me nuts.

Update: found it, thanks to all.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 1:20 AM

September 14, 2004

Because I feel like it

Random reminder that you can buy some crap. Nay, you should.

I'm working on ideas for a redesign; hopefully I can get around to it one of these days. I've gone without an RSS feed and new beaver animations for too long.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:37 PM

Denial?

There's a talking point out there that's been bothering me for a while- the apparent forgone conclusion that, should Bush win the election, Cheney isn't going to run for President in 2008.

Is there a flat-out confirmation on this? Because I don't understand how Republicans say this constantly, and with as much confidence as their speculation of Hillary's 2004 2008 presidential aspirations. This is a woman who said she won't run dozens of times, and no one believed her. Yet Cheney, as far as I can recall, has never even indicated he won't run in 2008 and every pundit addresses 2008 in terms of what young GOP senator will "fill the void."

I understand that there's the whole "he's old and has a bad heart" thing, but that's just speculation, and he managed to do fine through this term. And given the deification of Reagan and the nomination in 1996 of Bob Dole, I fail to see how Cheney is too old to be a viable candidate.

So here's where I'm lost- Dick Cheney clearly wants to be in power. He served under Bush I, made millions in the private sector, and chose to run Bush II's "fact-finding" VP American Idol or whatever method he used. The point is he eventually decided that, as head of the search, the most suitable running mate for Bush was himself.

That doesn't really sound like the actions of a man desperate to flee Washington. And outside the health issue, there's no evidence to my knowledge that indicates Cheney doesn't want to become the Most Powerful Man in the World.

Republicans are welcome to write in on this, but I have a personal theory: abject denial. Just as a lot of Democrats voted for Bush in 2000 as some kind of anger against Clinton, I think a lot of more moderate Republicans just don't want to vote for Bush this year believing they're advancing the agenda of a lunatic like Dick Cheney. It's sort of a Republican version of the Nader denial- "oh, stop. I'm not really helping the opposition."

A lot of irrational-thinking Republicans were legitimately suprised when, following every tenet of common sense, Hillary miraculously didn't run for President, just like she said, you know, fifty or sixty times. If Bush wins this November, I'm going to bet there'll be tons more shocked Republicans when the apparently-ridiculous notion of the incumbent VP announcing he's running comes true.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 2:01 PM

"Farewell, Rights of Man"

It's come to this.

A man who served the eight years required under his ROTC contract remains an Army reservist obliged to report for active duty because he failed to sign a resignation letter, a federal judge has ruled.

Todd Parrish, 31, had sought to block the Army from calling him to active duty until his lawsuit on the issue was decided.

But Judge Louise Flanagan denied the request on Friday, meaning that if the Army denies Parrish's administrative appeal, he could be forced to go on active duty while the case is litigated.

Parrish signed the ROTC contract while a student at North Carolina State University. He argued that his military obligation ended Dec. 19, following four years of active duty and four years in the reserves.

His attorney, Mark Waple, did not immediately return a call seeking comment Monday.

Army lawyer Maj. Chris Soucie told the judge that Parrish could be recalled to duty because he failed to sign a resignation line on a letter asking for an update on his personal information.

A man serves the full length of his military contract and is forced into active duty because he didn't cross every T.

Meanwhile, the President of the United States can't prove where he went for a year when he served in the military.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:18 AM

Florida Republicans officially subverts democracy

There's simply no other way to read this.

MIAMI (Reuters) - Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader's name can appear on Florida ballots for the election, despite a court order to the contrary, Florida's elections chief told officials on Monday in a move that could help President Bush in the key swing state.

The Florida Democratic Party reacted with outrage, calling the move "blatant partisan maneuvering" by Gov. Jeb Bush, the president's younger brother, and vowed to fight it.

In a memo to Florida's 67 county supervisors of elections, Division of Elections director Dawn Roberts said the uncertainty of Hurricane Ivan, which could hit parts of the state by week's end, forced her to act.

The action came in an ongoing legal battle over whether Nader should be allowed on the Florida ballot as the Reform Party candidate.

Nader, an independent nominated by the Reform Party, was a presidential candidate in 2000 when Bush won Florida, and the White House, by 537 votes over then-Vice President Al Gore. Analysts said most of the nearly 98,000 votes Nader got in Florida would have gone to Gore had Nader not been on the ballot.

Florida Circuit Court Judge Kevin Davey issued a temporary injunction last week preventing the state from putting Nader on the 2004 ballot, siding with a Democratic challenge that the Reform Party did not qualify as a national party under state law.

A hearing on a permanent injunction is scheduled for Wednesday. But Roberts said Hurricane Ivan, which is headed for Florida's Gulf coast, had raised "a substantial question as to when such a hearing" will be held.

So, let's get this straight.

Because of a possible hurricane, we need to make a decision now. Which could be overruled by a judge, but there won't be a hearing... because of the possible hurricane.

George Orwell is spinning in his grave.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:15 AM

September 13, 2004


Newest comic - "So speaks some guy with a website"

This week's strip addresses the much more serious issue of the "forged memos" mockery of rational discourse- the massive delusion of grandeur that is the handful of right-wing weblogs' belief they have not only defeated a non-existent conspiracy of epic left-wing media proportions, but the flat-out hysterical suggestion that they have rendered mainstream media obsolete, or even substandard to weblogs.

The truth of this entire incident, tragically, is the proof to the non-weblogging world just how infantile, unprepared, and lacking in profession most of these sites are as far as any actual serious definition of "journalism" goes. That some of them could consider themselves better journalists than those of the Dan Rather's field by means of deputizing themselves as typography experts for 48 hours pushes every limit of the physical restraint from hiring a detective to determine the home address of numerous webloggers for the purposes of approaching them in their place of writing and slapping them.

The main allegation was, of course, that the memos revealing the "unbelivable" notion that George W. Bush was a priviledged, pampered, lying, irresponsible waste of oxygen and/or taxpayer dollars during his stint protecting the Gulf of Mexico from the Viet Cong Air Force were fake. That would, you know, change everything or something.

Several weblogs submitted a series of "experts" who, by means of examining copies of copies of copies of copies, determined in an hour that they could never be produced on a typewriter of the time. This was a great shock to the network that already verifiedd the accuracy of their own story, not to mention the makers of the typewriter, who I think we can say might know a bit more about how they work than, oh, some guy who is established as a journalist by means of paying a monthly bandwidth fee.

Understand that this in no way suggests that webloggers aren't a contribution to the medium of journalism- or, for that matter that webloggers don't address issues and news the mainstream media neglects. But a bunch of shut-ins with a penchant for HTML really need to give themselves a dose of reality.

Contrary to their suggestions that they defy mainstream media and academia, most successful weblogs of quality are extensions of members of that genre. Atrios and Glenn Reynolds are both college professors. Dr. Josh Marshall, Kevin Drum, Andrew Sullivan, Matt Yglesias, and Tom Tomorrow all weblog as an extenstion of their careers in print media.

In the next field are the group blogs- a venture that reflects the necessity of mainstream media to have a wide audience by creating a wide audience via group participation. The Command Post, Daily Kos, DU, LGF, Free Republic, and my digital stomping grounds of MetaFilter succeed by establishing microcosmic universes of fact-checking and, in most cases, near-robotic similarity in terms of partisan thought.

So between those two types lie either the quality of accreditation or the provision of group analysis. Which leaves the outlier of online "journalism" in the form of Matt Drudge, a man both devoid of journalistic ability and who most could safely say has never considered the opinions of anyone other then himself since the day he bought his first silly-ass-looking hat.

The blogging world proves it's uselessness by means of which of these three they aspire to be like. Fighting to be the next Drudge, the memo debate of the previous week was a victory for scum.

Fueled by a hatred of CBS and the iconization of Dan Rather to "the liberal media," the right-wing circle-jerk took the cue from Drudge in the form of a baseless accusation propelled as heartily as the gobs and gobs of pure bullshit they routinely lobbed at the wall with the hopes of sticking. Devoted to ignoring irony, the right-wingers attacked the memos as a lie by spreading more falsehoods than the singular notion of the memos being fake.

In some sense, it's representative. Consider the number of ideas Drudge and his associates have pushed in this year alone- Drudge accused Kerry of adultery, claiming sources that never materialized. Reports of job numbers that were simply false. Constant suggestions of "inside turmoil" in the Kerry campaign that offered no names to back up the claim. And my personal favorite, the recent theft of a photo snapped by a left-wing blooger that, simply to avoid crediting him, Drudge badly altered.

In all of these cases, the recurring theme was not just Drudge being completely, 100% wrong, but his instant removal and evaporation of evidence to the idea that he is not a higher being who deigns his insight upon the rest of us mortals.

The memo smear-fest of last week was a shining example of the right wing blogging world trying to emulate the Matt Drudges as an alternative to pretending to actually care what legitimate inquiry really means. Until they decide that their poster child shouldn't be the biggest abortion of everything journalism stands for, any blogger claiming to be superior to "old media" merely because a thousand of the fellow digital compatriots unfit to be found in Walter Cronkite's stool egg their opinions on remain as much a clown as Drudge himself.

Weekly posting of comic concludes with weekly suggestion that you buy some crap. Transmission ends.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 2:43 AM

September 12, 2004

Oh, right, except for him saying no such friggin' thing

A lot of other blogs have written about the blatant right-wing leaning AP writer Nedra Pickler puts into her articles, but this one should merit instant condemnation and demands for correction. Keep in mind that she titled this article "Kerry Hints GOP May Suppress Black Votes."

John Kerry suggested Saturday night that Republicans may try to keep black voters from casting their ballots to help President Bush win in November. "We are not going to stand by and allow another million African American votes to go uncounted in this election," the Democratic presidential nominee told the Congressional Black Caucus.

"We are not going to stand by and allow acts of voter suppression, and we're hearing those things again in this election."

Kerry has a team of lawyers to examine possible voting problems to try to prevent a repeat of the 2000 election disputes. He also has said he has thousands of lawyers around the country prepared to monitor the polls on election day.

"What they did in Florida in 2000, some say they may be planning to do this year in battleground states all across this country," Kerry said. "Well, we are here to let them know that we will fight tooth and nail to make sure that this time, every vote is counted and every vote counts."

Bush-Cheney spokesman Steve Schmidt said the campaign would not respond to Kerry's "baseless, divisive attacks" until Sunday. "Today is a day of remembrance," he said.

So, Kerry said this: black voters were disenfranchised in Florida four years ago. We're not going to allow that to happen, nor in any other part of the country.

Pickler's interpretation, and Republican response: Kerry accused Bush of stealing votes from black people. Also, he pissed on 9/11.

Lovely.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:14 PM